Facebook’s Local Ad Targeting Gets Smarter

It’s been a little more than a year since Facebook launched its Local Awareness ads, which allow businesses to target ads at nearby users — the ones who either live within a given distance of their store or were recently nearby. Now it’s improving those ads, particularly for businesses with multiple locations.

The company says the ads can now include dynamic ad copy that changes based on a store’s location — so a user would see a slightly different ad depending on the store that they’re closest to. Similarly, the call-to-action button can automatically direct users to different stores depending on their location.

Here’s how a business could use these new features, as outlined in a Facebook blog post:

For example, if a cafe with multiple locations in the Bay Area decides to run local awareness ads, they could choose to automatically populate the city name in their ad copy, depending on where the people seeing the ad are. So, people in Menlo Park would see “Join us for lunch in Menlo Park,” while people in San Francisco would see “Join us for lunch in San Francisco.” Call-to-action buttons are also dynamic, so when someone clicks on the “Call Now” or “Get Directions” button, they’re connected to the store currently closest to them. This helps advertisers spend more efficiently, since they’re only connecting with people likely to visit the store and the information they share is hyper-local and relevant.

In addition to potentially making the ads more effective, this gives businesses additional incentive to create multiple Facebook Pages for their different stores, and to manage those Pages with the Locations for Pages tool.

Facebook’s also adding new data about the neighborhoods around a given store — things like the busiest times, the demographics and how many of the people nearby have seen the store’s Facebook ads. The company says this data will be anonymized and will only include information from people who have enabled location services with their Facebook accounts.